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7 June 2007 Edition

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We haven’t gone away, you know

Republicans who may feel demoralised by the recent election results should take heart from the collective media display of pleasure mixed with palpable relief.
Obsessive fear of republicanism in the 26 Counties is still the predominant characteristic of an establishment that, despite massive economic growth, continues to doubt itself and whose hired media hands churn out drivel about the imminent destruction of civilisation that will arrive with the entry of Sinn Féin to government. Some of this is deliberately exaggerated and designed to damage Fianna Fáil, which was accused by Fine Gael/Labour/PD hacks of preparing to coalesce with Sinn Féin. But much of it is a neurotic fear of republicanism engendered by a class that has retained one lesson, at least, from Irish history - namely, that republicanism is the radical political philosphy of Irish working people.
Thus, the paranoia beforehand and the relief, bordering on euphoria, after the election produced disappointing results for Sinn Féin. Other articles in An Phoblacht analyse the various reasons for this result but one factor was a frenzied fear churned out daily by journalists about Sinn Féin, and their attacks on the credibility of the party’s policies.
Irish Times columnist and former failed Fianna Fáil candidate Noel Whelan danced on what he mistakenly believed was Sinn Féin’s political coffin, predicting that there was nowhere for the party to go as Fianna Fáil had taken places in Dublin like Finglas, Cabra and Tallaght. We shall see. For while Fianna Fáil politicians there can now retreat safely to their middle class homes, neither the working class nor Sinn Féin activists have anywhere else to go - nor have they any choice but to keep agitating and campaigning if we want to create a better, fairer society.
The old enemy and their Dublin servants at the Sunday Times let the mask slip, as they often do, with gloating refrences to various Sinn Féin individuals who, as they point out disparagingly, have devoted most of their adult lives to republican politics and who, they hope, will now get lost. Some hope. Sometimes you realise why London lost the British empire.
Another anti-republican whose ‘expert’ outpourings have been published by the Sunday Telegraph and who has been feted by such as Eoghan Harris and others in the Sunday Independent is Ed Moloney, who offered his opinion from New York, where he has lived for many years. Moloney used to denounce the Sinn Féin leadership for telling lies when they denied his reports that decommissioning was imminent some years ago. Now, he argues that Sinn Féin failed in its objectives at the 2007 general election because the IRA did not decommission - when he was writing that they would - many years ago. Work it out if you can.
Irish Times northern columnist Fionnuala O’Connor referred to the “delight of pundits” at Sinn Féin’s performance - as if to separate herself from this rabid pack - and wrote patronisingly about Sinn Féin’s more moderate goals for the future. But in an article that revealed an absence of self-deprecating irony, the Belfast-based journalist trotted out the cliché about Gerry Adams being “detached” from southern politics. She also explained Sinn Féin’s performance as the electorate’s lack of interest in Irish reunification, indicating that she does not understand much about people south of Newry either or indeed republicanism. Sinn Féin’s programme is based primarily, though not exclusively, on the interests of working class people North and South.
Southern tolerance of partition is based on fear, sometimes economic fear. Most of the time this fear restrains Irish people from fully embracing the only political credo - republicanism - that is logical, natural and in their interests. The fear factor worked in this election, as it often does, but it does not and will not always deter Irish people from taking control of their own country and their own lives.
The non-productive parasites that have clung to British coat-tails for so long, and more recently to a global, western world order, can rest easy for the time being but five years is a very long time in Irish politics. We have been here before and in much more difficult situations too. Sinn Féin has had a bad election but we haven’t gone away, you know. Neither has the Irish working class.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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